Srinagar: At least 726 persons were booked under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) in Kashmir during the last two years, the government told the assembly on Friday.
The government stated in the ongoing assembly that 525 persons were booked under the controversial PSA during the year 2016.
“All of them have been released,” said the home department, headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in response to NC legislator Mubarak Gul.
In the year 2016, pro-freedom protests were witnessed across Kashmir after the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
Similarly, the government said, in the year 2017, around 201 persons were arrested under the PSA, which has been described by Amnesty International as a “lawless law”. Of them, 124 persons were released, the government said.
The government, however, said it cannot disclose the details of the arrested persons as it was concerned about “their security and their families”. “More so when the government has already announced amnesty to the first-time offenders/stone pelters,” it added.
However, Jammu Kashmir High Court lawyers claim that in the year 2016, 738 people were booked under PSA, while in 2017 there were 371 PSA detainees up to the November 25.
The last two years have witnessed the past decade’s highest number of PSA detention orders – above 1,100 – being deployed against pro-freedom leaders, activists and protesters in the Valley.
The PSA allows the State to take a person into preventive detention to prevent him or her from indulging in an activity which, in the opinion of the State, constitutes a threat to State security.